Everything pertains to love

It's February 2nd, and a week's worth of feasts and celebrations are contained in this single day: the Presentation of Jesus, also marked as Candlemas, a feast of light... the Purification... and the World Day for Consecrated Life. So much to fit into twenty-four hours, of which seven or eight are spent asleep!

Social media has been overflowing with a treasury of inspiring homilies and reflections about consecrated life, enough to keep me going for several days, if I can make the time to read them all! We religious have contributed to this, whether with a brief tweet referencing Vita Consecrata, or longer blogs - to which I will add this, once finished! But what really matters, of course, is not what's said about us, or written by us, but how, individually and collectively, we live our vocation as fully and deeply and joyfully as possible. 

And I've been reflecting on something in Pope Francis' apostolic letter, issued last month, about St Francis de Sales - Totum Amoris Est (Everything Pertains to Love). Writing about love as the criterion of discernment, and of the complex relationship between different ways of arriving at union with God, whether through solitude or activity, St Francis says ...in the end, it always comes back to the question of where the greatest love is to be found. 

Twenty-nine years ago I entered religious life because I had fallen in love with God, yes: but, more crucially, because I knew myself to be loved by God, infinitely and unconditionally; knew myself, too, to be called to love, and to make Love known. And religious life in the Society of the Sacred Heart has been, and continues to be, where I find the greatest love, and the greatest calls and challenges and opportunities to love. 

In Holy Church, wrote St Francis, everything pertains to love, lives in love, is done for love and comes from love. My prayer for me, my sisters and fellow-religious is that in all of us, too, everything can pertain to love; can live in love, be done for love, come from love, and be transformed into Love...

Since 2012 I have written a reflection every year for World Day for Consecrated Life, at times interwoven with Candlemas. If you like, you can read them here.